The Risk of Not Treating Cataracts

A woman with blurry vision frowns and considers seeing an optometrist.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed types of eye surgery. Left untreated, cataracts can lead to vision impairment, vision loss, and even blindness. The World Health Organization reports that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. One of the goals we have at New York Ophthalmology is providing accurate information that patients can use to help maintain the health of their eyes.

With that in mind, in this blog post, we’ll provide some basic facts about cataracts, including their symptoms and when treatment is needed.

Cataracts 101

The subject of cataracts can be a bit confusing, especially if you’ve recently been diagnosed with the condition and aren’t sure of the next steps. The fact is that cataracts tend to develop slowly, and you may not need surgery to remove them for quite some time. So, if your existing level of vision isn’t bothering you, there isn’t really a need to pursue surgery just yet.

Cataract Symptoms

People often don’t know they have cataracts early on. It’s difficult to distinguish the symptoms of cataracts from other age-related vision changes. Nearsightedness often develops in the early stages of cataracts, a condition that eyeglasses can correct. But as cataracts continue developing, your night vision may worsen, colors may appear duller than normal, you may become sensitive to light, and objects may look blurry or cloudy. If left untreated, cataracts can grow large enough to completely impair vision. Because the changes can be subtle, many people may not see an eye doctor.  This is another reason scheduling routine eye exams are important. Comprehensive eye exams, which can detect not just cataracts but also glaucoma and other eye conditions, are recommended every two years for adults ages 40 through 64 and annually for everyone 65 or older.

Cataract Treatment

Cataract surgery is the only treatment option available at this time. Researchers are working to develop eye drops as a treatment alternative, but they’re not yet ready for public use. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a safe outpatient procedure that requires a relatively short recovery time. Even though the surgery is very common, it’s important to choose an experienced and well-qualified eye doctor to perform the procedure. Many people wonder when is it time to schedule cataract surgery? In a previous blog post, we explained why the timing of the surgery really depends on the patient’s symptoms. The bottom line is that it’s a decision you should make after consulting with an ophthalmologist.

If you’ve experienced any of the symptoms we’ve described and believe you may be developing cataracts, request an appointment to discuss cataract surgery at one of our Queens or Bronx locations. You can use the online form or call us directly at (718) 585-5500 (Bronx), (718) 989-1457 (Jamaica), or (718) 78-6753 (Jackson Heights).

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